New York based nonprofit cultural organization, Japan Society, organized Reigakusha’s two city tour of Gagaku and Bugaku, an art form that have been performed as court music since Heian era to commemorate the new Emperor’s enthronement. It was a part of their “Emperor Series” programs. 17 musicians from Reigakusha included Takeshi Sasamoto (Ryuteki), Tamami Tono (Sho), Hitomi Nakamura (Hichiriki), Naoko Miyamaru (Kakko), Nobukazu Taniuchi (Dance/Kakko). First part of the program was titled “Ancient Celebratory Gagaku”. Music and dance performed include “Gakkaen” which is played at the enthronement ceremony, “Kashin”, a music that was often played for celebration, and “Manzairaku”, a bugaku dance that is traditionally performed for the emperor’s inauguration. The second part of the program introduced two contemporary gagaku music, one was gagaku inspired contemporary gagaku ensemble music “Shuteiga” by Japan’s leading contemporary composer Toru Takemitsu, and the other was “Shotorashion” composed by the founder of Reigakusha, late Sukeyasu Shiba. Educational workshops were also held in each city.
A gagaku musical performance group founded by Japan Art Academy Order of Culture recipient, Sukeyasu Shiba (1935 – 2019). Since its launch, the group has been involved in a wide range of activities at home and abroad, such as enthusiastic performance of modern works in addition to existing classical gagaku, as well as the reconstructing of obselete pieces from the repertoire and performances on replicas of Nara-period instruments in the collection of the Shoso-in treasure house. Independent performances include numerous premieres of new commissioned works in the style of both contemporary and classical gagaku. The group also works towards the understanding and spread of gagaku by holding accessible concerts, and implements many educational programs such as workshops aimed at elementary, junior high and high school students, lecture concerts, and more. With performances of works such as Shuteiga Ichigu (“In an Autumn Garden”), the group has garnered the Special Prize of Kenzo Nakajima Music Award in 2002, the top prize in the Record Division at the National Arts Festival of 2002 and the 16th Keizo Saji Prize in 2016.
1) Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette University, Easton, PA, USA
2) Lilia Acheson Wallace Auditorium at Japan Society, New York, NY, USA